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Rural populations in England show 6 per cent growth

One fifth of England's population live in rural areas

November 15th 2023

Tagged: Rurality England

By Ailsa Colquhoun

Rural populations in England have increased 6 per cent over the past decade, newly published government statistics show.

New figures from DEFRA’s Statistical Digest of Rural England show that in 2020 9.7 million people were estimated to live in rural areas in England.

Over a quarter (25.4 per cent) of people living in rural areas are aged 65 and over, compared with the urban population where 17.1 per cent are aged 65 and over.

Since 2008/09 there has been an increase in the rate of net migration to predominantly rural areas, increasing the risk of a predatory pharmacy opening in these areas. Around one fifth of England’s population (21.3%) now live in rural areas.

Within the overall net internal migration was a net internal migration outwards of 17 to 20 years olds.

In terms of health, DEFRA finds that in 2023, there were 1,280 patients per GP in predominantly rural areas, compared to 1,360 patients per GP in predominantly urban areas.

Rural areas score marginally better than urban areas on a selection of wellbeing measures; however, for both rural and urban areas, the measures suggest a decline in wellbeing between 2018/19 and 2021/22.